April 16, 2014

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The program “Toying with Technology” is designed to explain the principles behind many of the technological innovations in wide use today which is accomplished through hands-on laboratory experiences based upon simple systems constructed out of LEGOs® and controlled by small microcomputers. The laboratory experiences lead people, literally by their hands-on experimentation, through the use of technology that supports many everyday activities. The lab experiences are simple enough to isolate and illuminate the underlying basic principles of technology and yet complex enough to represent-world examples.

We live in a world of electronic and electromechanical gadgets, much of which is a complete mystery of the average, non-technical person. Garage door openers, TV remote controllers, microwave ovens, automobile cruise controllers, and cellular phones are but a few items in wide use today. As complex as these gadgets seem on the surface, much of the mystery behind their functionality can be explained in simple terms well within the grasp of the average, non-technical person. The intent of the course is to introduce students to recent advances in electronic technical in a gentle, non-threatening manner. laboratory experiences typically involve the design and construction (out of LEGOs®) of simple models of real-world systems, including an elevator and its controller, a garage door and its opener, a computer- controlled car, and a house security system.